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Parfitt and Morris surge to British GT win at Brands Hatch

Sunday, August 06 2017

Rick Parfitt Jr and Seb Morris claimed a commanding overall victory in the two-hour British GT Championship race at Brands Hatch this afternoon (Saturday), vaulting themselves into the championship lead behind the wheel of their Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3. Aston Martin drivers Jan Jonck and Will Phillips claimed class victory for Macmillan AMR in the GT4 class.

James Littlejohn's Macmillan AMR Aston Martin Vantage initially got the best getaway from the two-by-two rolling start to challenge the pole-sitting Lamborghini Huracan of Jon Minshaw, but he was unable to take the lead after getting edged out wide at Druids.

Littlejohn maintained the pressure though, and was rewarded by a mistake from Minshaw as the leading duo encountered GT4 traffic for the first time. Whilst Minshaw was losing positions, his main championship rival Parfitt was gaining them after starting down the order, and he'd risen to fourth position by the start of lap 10 - he climbed another place later the same lap.

Parfitt then set about deposing Minshaw from second position and after a couple of laps right on the Lamborghini's tail, he made his move at the exit of Graham Hill Bend on the 15th lap. Thereafter, the Bentley driver left Minshaw in his wake as he set about chasing down Littlejohn.

A safety car period then interrupted proceedings as the stricken GT4 Aston Martin of Will Moore was recovered, and Littlejohn immediately picked up where he left off with an almighty restart to leave the pack behind. At this stage, the lead battle was poised to be a real nail-biter, but we were denied a straight fight when Littlejohn was removed from contention by an issue with his throttle. Thus, Parfitt inherited the lead whilst the previous leader returned to the garage.

Minshaw continued to drop down the order and, by the time the leading GT3 cars began to pit with just under an hour to go, he sat fifth having lost further places to Mark Farmer, team-mate Liam Griffin, and reigning champion Derek Johnston.

Following the pit-stops, Morris took over the lead car with a healthy margin at the front, with Griffin's co-driver Sam Tordoff in second, and John Barnes third in the Aston Martin he shares with Farmer. Jonny Adam resumed in fourth after replacing Johnston whilst Phil Keen retained Minshaw's fifth position.

From there, Morris was utterly dominant cruising home to a comfortable victory, with his four top-five pursuers remaining in order behind him.

The GT4 battle behind was a thriller, with Jonck hounding Ciaran Haggerty in the McLaren 720S he shares with Sandy Mitchell to take the lead late on. Jonck kept his cool during a long duel to take the lead with a brave move at Druids with just 15 minutes remaining.

Joe Osborne followed suit after hunting the leaders down a handful of laps later, before the unfortunate Haggerty speared off the road at Paddock Hill Bend to hand the final GT4 podium spot to the Ginetta of Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha.